Have any questions? Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com, or post a question on this page, and I’ll be sure to get back to ya!
Have you thought about giving Cody a sibling (of the furry variety)?
Haha, thanks for clarifying! Jay and I talk about giving Cody a friend quite often, but because of my already existing allergies, we’re a little leery about adding to the problem. Since I seem to have the allergies & asthma regulated, I would hate to mess with that. Plus, we both agree that Cody sheds enough fur and destroys the litter box enough for about 3 cats worth.
How do you fit working out into your day? You must be so busy with working full time teaching! What does a typical day look like for you?
Some days, busy doesn’t even begin to describe it! BUT, that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for not working in some exercise. You have to be organized, you have to have a plan, and you have to stick to it. For me, I really enjoy working out in the morning. Sure, nobody wants to get up at 5am to work out (well, maybe they do, but they’re crazy!) but I’d rather do that and know that my workout is done for the day. There are still some classes that I do enjoy taking at my gym, which are after school, but I work them into my daily schedule just like I would anything else. I also really enjoying throwing some yoga and/or Pilates into the mix at least once a week.
I’m still working on figuring out the best schedule for me this year, but last year I had things pretty well in place. On days I didn’t go to the gym for a class after work (which were usually Tuesdays, Fridays, & Sunday mornings for BodyPump), I exercised in the morning at home. Usually, it was a form of cardio on the treadmill or a video from Exercise on Demand; but now that my treadmill is broken, it’s making things a little bit more difficult to figure out! Typically, I will get some form of exercise in 5-6 days a week.
My boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship right now. I was wondering if you and Jay ever went through this and if you have any advice for making it work?
Jay and I were fortunate enough to never have to deal with a long distance relationship. We both attended college and proceeded to find work in our local area, so we were always close. I did, however, have numerous friends who did have to deal with long distance relationships, and judging from them, I know it’s not easy. I’d have to say three of the biggest factors that I noticed in their relationships were trust, honesty, and communication. Which really, when you think about it, is equally important in any relationship. Some of their relationships worked, and some of them didn’t; but the ones who wanted to make it work, and made the extra effort, are the ones who are still together today. If your man is worth it, go that extra step! Good luck!
How did Jay propose?
Awww, this is such a fun question! When we first got engaged, I actually created a wedding website for ourselves, which includes our proposal story, so feel free to go check it out! http://weddings.theknot.com/pwp/pwp2/view/MemberPage.aspx?coupleid=8925749141748920&pid=1832447
If you don’t mind revealing, what is your height and weight?
I am 5’7” and weight approximately 125lbs. Although I do own a scale, it’s super-ancient and I never use it. I actually had to make sure to use the scale at the gym the other day, just so I could have a number to answer this question! I have never been really big on scales. I’m sure my numbers must fluctuate all the time, which could be misleading and unnecessarily discouraging. Rather, I tend to go by how my clothes are fitting to determine when I need to back away from the ice cream.
Do you count calories, and if so about how many calories do you aim to eat daily?
I do not count calories, but I am still very aware of the calories that are in many of the foods that I eat. If I had to guess, I’d say that most of my meals are probably around the 400 calorie mark, with two or three 100-200 calorie snacks throughout the day. That being said, there are always exceptions to the rule; for example, I almost always consume more calories on weekends and on days where I do more intense cardio.
I know that you are about to be doing a home renovation so I am sure that money will become a little tighter, so I was just wondering what you will spend a lot of money on no matter what the cost??
The house that Jay and I currently live in is not the house that we plan to stay in forever, so we aren’t planning on spending a fortune on any of our renovations. Sure, a kitchen definitely isn’t cheap, but we have been looking into ways to cut costs. It’s amazing how much money we can actually save by doing some of the labor ourselves – I’m sure you’ll be seeing me with a sledgehammer sometime soon! We also have some really great friends who have offered to help us out with different areas too. So I really don’t think there’s anything I’m super “gung ho” about – if I can somehow save a few bucks, I’m going to do it!
Do you put dressing on your salad? In this post it doesn’t look like it, so I was just wondering.
Most of the time I do add some sort of dressing to my salads, but it also depends on the toppings. If I’m eating leftover roasted veggies, a little splash of balsamic vinegar usually does the trick for me. But with a fresh veggie salad, some of my favorites are a simple oil & vinegar, Ken’s Light Balsamic Vinaigrette, Kraft Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette, Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan, & anything by Annie’s Naturals.
Do you think you will stay in NY forever? Do you and Jay see yourselves moving ever?!
Great question! There is a huge part of me that wants to say that I would up and move as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Not being a fan of the cold, I’ve always found some of the southern states to have much appeal; especially North Carolina. I also really like the idea of having the experience of living in another state and being out of my comfort zone. Jay and I talk about it quite often. Then again, we have so many supportive friends and family where we are, and have become a part of so many great communities, that it would probably take a lot to get us to leave.
What are the best and worst things about living in your area of New York?
Best: Living near so many friends and family, watching the seasons change, being able to travel to so many places (Lake George, Vermont, NYC, Massachusetts) in less than three hours!
Worst: Dealing with cold, snowy, icy, nasty winters. I’m not a big fan of the cold, or snow. I would be beyond thrilled if it only snowed on December 24-25th for the rest of my life.
What grade do you teach?
What Redken products do you use? Do you use a straightening iron?
Well, here’s all the goods that I’ve acquired over the last couple years. I definitely don’t use them all at the same time, but I like to switch back and forth with a few. For example, one day I might just use the Body Full root lifer, and the next day I’ll use a combination of the Extreme + Align. Very rarely do I use the shine glosses, just because I hate getting my hands all greasy.
I have a straightening iron and a 2-inch barrel curling iron that I alternate. My hair is naturally straight, so the only reason I’ll use the straightening iron is to smooth out the ends. If I feel like a little more curl & volume, I go with the curling iron.
How do you do red highlights without looking silly?
Yikes, this is a tough one! After talking to my mom a few times about it, I’d say there’s a few things you should consider: your natural hair color, your skin coloring, and the effect that you’re going for. For me, I wanted my color to have more of a red undertone, so my mom mixed a bright shade of red with a couple other shades of brown to neutralize it. I’ve always liked my hair colors better with a subtle effect, not the “WOW” your hair is red/blonde/etc.!”. But as always, just work with your hairdresser! And if you’re in need of one, and live in the Upstate NY area, I know a couple good ones to recommend.
How do you plan on teaching your children to eat healthy when you start a family?
What a great question! Children learn so much about food, behaviors, really EVERYTHING through example. I will want my children to know that eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland or boring, and I’ll show them that. I will want to be a role model for them in the kitchen. They’re certainly not going to see me sitting down to dinner with a Hungryman frozen dinner, or watching TV with a box of Twinkies in my lap. But they will see me preparing healthy, nutritious meals and snacks. There’s always got to be a little wiggle room, so I’m not going to restrict them from many foods. But it will be my goal to get them to enjoy healthy foods and making smart choices, not just eating them because they “have to.” Now, does that mean that they won’t see me indulge in the occasional bowl of ice cream or chocolate chip cookie…probably not. But that’s ok!
Q: I am so excited to try out some of your cupcake recipes! Do you just experiment until you get the taste you want?
A: Sometimes, yes. I’ll usually pick and choose pieces of different recipes that I like, or I’ll add in substitutions that I know would be a good fit. If it’s something I’ve never tried before, I’ll be more likely to stick to the original recipe the first time…then “Courtney-fy” it.
Q: What are ten things that you really want to do before you die?
A: This one really had me thinking, but in a good way! It’s very possible that some of these could change a month from now, but here’s what I came up with (in no particular order of importance):
- Travel to Europe with my husband, especially Italy & Paris, France, and explore all the fabulous cuisines they have to offer. Hello, dinner in Tuscany? YES PLEASE!
- Have children – two or three – and would love a boy/girl combo…but obviously I’ll take whatever I’m lucky enough to have.
- Go skydiving
- Swim with dolphins
- Open my own bakery/cafe (this is a definite!!)
- Walk at a red carpet event
- Meet Ryan Reynolds & Paul Walker (hey, a girl can dream, right?)
- Live in a different state
- Take a hellicopter ride over Hawaii
- Have a piece of work published
Q: What’s your food/diet philosophy?
A: You know, as much as I think about it all the time, I don’t think I ever really sat down to put it all together as a “philosophy”. But I do know this…
-I don’t like “diets” and I can’t stand when people say “Oh my gosh, I have GOT to go on a diet”. It drives me crazy.
-I DO like healthy, balanced eating…keep reading:
-No foods are considered “off limits” because then I will inevitably crave them somethin’ wicked. I could decide to make mushrooms off limits, and I would end up wanting them at every meal.
-Moderation & portion control are so important. If I want cheesecake, I’ll have it. If I want some sweet potato fries, I’ll eat them. If I want ice cream, you KNOW I’m going to have some. But I’m not going to eat these things every day, and I’m not going to jumbo size my order. Have the food, enjoy it, savor it, and move on from it.
-Incorporate LOTS of fruits & veggies!! I try to hit my daily veggie intake between my lunch & dinner meals (unless a Green Monster or omelet is in order, then they’ll make an appearance at breakfast). The fiber in these keeps me full and satisfied all day…although I’m actually trying to cut back a little bit on the green veggies because I think they might be causing me some extra stomach pains?
-Lean, healthy protein is a MUST! Some of my favorites are chicken, fish, eggs, and cottage cheese.
I could go into a lot more, but a lot of it I’m sure you’ve already heard before. In a nutshell, my food philosophy is:
“Eat what I want, don’t pig out on it, and balance my meals to make sure I’m hitting all of my daily food needs”
Q: What’s your fitness philosophy?
A: First and foremost, whatever your fitness routine is, it has to be FUN! You have to enjoy what you’re doing, otherwise, you know you’re not going to stick to it.
For example, I’ve tried my darndest to get hubby to go running with me, but he just does not like it. Finally, I told myself, “Duh” – if he doesn’t enjoy it, quit bugging him about it!
For me, fitness is a combination of cardio + weight training + stretching.
I have come to enjoy various types of cardio such as running, spinning, BodyAttack classes, kickboxing classes, and sports. Sports are a GREAT way to incorporate exercise – you’re focused on having fun with friends, not “how many calories you’ve burned”.
For weight training, BodyPump has become my new best friend. I never really enjoyed lifting – I found it boring, and since I wasn’t “working up a sweat”, it didn’t feel like I was doing much. But with BodyPump, the class keeps me motivated, my heart pumpin’, and my muscles burnin’!
Stretching is something that I wish I incorporated more, but really do enjoy doing. I really like doing Pilates, and I have a couple DVD’s that I will often switch up. Pilates is really great at strengthening the core, which is so important. My current goal is to find a type of yoga that I really like and will stick with. I’ve tried some off of yogadownload.com, which is a great site, but I just don’t know if the ones I tried were for me. I’m on the hunt for some good yoga!
I don’t have a set exercise schedule, because my daily schedule changes every single week (dinners out with friends, late nights, extra work, softball games, etc.). My goal is to get 6 days of exercise in each week, making at least 4 of them cardio, and 2 of them weight training. Sometimes I hit my goal, sometimes I don’t. But in the end, it all works out!
Q: What did your high school prom dress look like?
A: Well, rather than explain it, how ’bout I show you! Since Jay and I went to different high schools, that meant more proms – 4 to be exact! I was able to find photos of 3 of my dresses.
Jay’s Junior Prom - EEEK…this photo scares me! Haha, I was a little heavier back then…cosmic brownies & zebra cakes were pretty much a food group at that point.
My Junior Prom
My Senior Prom – I absolutely LOVED this dress! I would wear it again if I had a reason!
Q: Did you and Jay have a song in high school? Is it different from “your song” now?
A: Yes, actually we did! “Our song” in high school was “Where You Are” by Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey. Our song now would have to be the song we danced to at our wedding, which is “Love Song” by 311.
Q: What sports did you play in high school?
A: I played volleyball from grades 9-12, softball in grades 9 & 10, and I was also on the varsity bowling team from 8th grade – 12th grade. Yup, bowling! And in my junior year, our team was actually the New York State Champions!
Q: Have you ever taken Zumba at the gym?
A: I actually have not, only because my gym wasn’t offering it. HOWEVER, I just saw a sign yesterday that said they were going to be starting a class up next week! Soo, I’m totally trying it out…I’ve heard such great things about it!
Q: How did you and Jay (aka, “your hunk-o-man” – thanks, Julie!) meet?
A: Jay and I actually met “unofficially” a few times before “officially” meeting. Back when I was a sophomore in high school, Jay was dating one of my good friends at the time, so I knew “of him”. He went to a different high school, so I didn’t see him all the time, but whenever there were school dances or a party, he was usually there. I actually have a picture from a high school dance where he is standing about 3 people away from me, and we had never really even spoken at that point!
I also knew Jay because we both bowled in the same Saturday morning bowling league. I would always “watch him from a-far”, and definitely had a crush on him! However, I was a little too shy to go up and talk to him, so we would really just smile and say “Hi” if we crossed paths.
One of the firs things I ever said to Jay was at a party, when he had just been “dumped” by the girl he was dating. I knew it was a sticky situation, and I felt really bad. So when I saw him standing by himself against a wall (the poor thing!) I decided to go up and just ask, “Are you ok?”. The only response I got was a look up, and a “yeah, I’m fine”. And that was it…BUT, the seal had been broken.
Fast forward about a month, on the night of Thanksgiving, when another mutual friend of ours got us talking on AIM (do you guys remember that?!?). We talked for HOURS that night, and were pretty much inseparable from that point on. It was on December 5, 1999 that we became “official” – I was 15, he was 16.
And although we did have some rough patches and did take about a year apart right after I finished college, we still never lost touch. We had a lot of growing up to do, and unfortunately, it wasn’t working when we were together. BUT, we grew up, we worked things out, realized that we were totally right for each other, and have been going strong ever since.
Lucky me, I get to call him my “hubby” now
Q: What are your thoughts on soy milk? I’ve read so much controversy that I’ve switched to almond milk…
A:I’ve also read a lot of the controversy on soy milk, and I’ve also read a lot of the benefits. While I certainly wouldn’t consider myself well-versed on the pros & cons of soy milk, I’ve decided that for now, I’m going to stick with it. The amount that I consume during any given week is pretty small (maybe 3-4 cups total?) so at this point I’m not concerned. There are a few side effects that I’ve read about, however, that I have experienced, so I am thinking about cutting it out for a week or two to see if I notice any difference.
Q: What is one of your favorite “guilty pleasure” foods?
A: If I’m going sweet, it’s most definitely a BIG ice cream flurry with caramel, oreos, & cookie dough. If I’m going salty, then it’s gotta be sweet potato fries. They’re my favorite!
Q: What is one of your favorite magazines:
A: I currently have subscriptions to Self, Shape, Glamour, & Cooking Light. (Yes, too many, but I like them all!)
Q: When are you coming back to Burlington, VT? lol
A: Hopefully soon! Jay and I had such a GREAT time when we visited back in April, but it was a little chilly so we didn’t get to do everything we hoped. We’re thinking maybe sometime over the summer…if we do, I’ll let you know, Kara!
Q: What’s your favorite TV show (besides Cougar Town)?
A: One Tree Hill!!! I’m obsessed with this show…I couldn’t BELIEVE the ending last week for the season finale! I cried like a baby.
Q: What meal woud you choose to eat for every dinner for the rest of you life? Breakfast? Lunch?
A: BREAKFAST, hands down!
Q: What is the BEST gift you have ever received?
A: This is a tough one. My immediate reaction would be to say when my parents surprised me on Christmas morning with a brand new car in my senior year of high school! That definitely topped the charts!
But I’ve also received so many other “gifts” which, while not exactly material, still mean so much more. For example, the gift of maturity, forgiveness, & time, which brought my now husband (then boyfriend) back together after a year apart. Without those three things, I don’t know where I’d be today.
Q: When did you become interested in fitness and wellness? Was there a turning point for you?
A: This question could potentially end up being a pretty loaded one, so bear with me!
I’d say that fitness and wellness, in a positive light, really didn’t come into the picture much for me until I was about 24. Up until that point, my mindset was more heavily focused on exercise and losing weight, but not in a positive manner.
Growing up, I did some modeling which I always LOVED. However, I wasn’t really ever a “skinny” girl, and was actually much more on the chubby side. I would occasionally feel self-conscious, noticing how my body wasn’t exactly built like the other girls, but I still loved doing it just the same, and was almost too young to care.
As I continued to grow up, some of my modeling brought me to bigger and more exciting experiences. I participated twice in the Miss New York USA pageant (trust me, I’m NOT a “pageant” girl…I went into it both times expecting not to win and just enjoyed the experience) and finished as a semi-finalist both times. It was fun, exciting, and has left me with many memories. However, seeing myself surrounded by these drop-dead gorgeous, size 0’s with huge boobs, my self-conscious self started surfacing more and more. I tried to shove the thoughts that were battling with my realistic-self to the back burner, but they slowly kept creeping up.
It wasn’t until a local contest to try out for the TV show America’s Next Top Model came to town that things began to change. Shockingly enough, I ended up winning the local contest, providing me with the opportunity to travel down to New York City to try out with the actual casting directors of the show. I can still remember the day I got the news: I had just been on the computer and printed off a recipe for Malt Caramel Brownies…that quickly got thrown into the garbage, along with my love for food…
I had about 4 weeks until my trip to NYC, which I saw as an opportunity to “get thin”. Now at this point in my life, not only did I put the stress of the contest on me, but I was also feeling the stress of losing Jay. During this time, Jay and I decided to take a break; to grow up, and sort out our issues. It really took a toll on me, and in turn, I focused all of my attention on food and losing weight.
I can tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been hungrier than I was at this time in my life. I ate minuscule meals (if you could call them that); I avoided fat at all costs- heck I avoided food when I could; I hated even the slightest feeling of fullness in my stomach; I was constantly counting calories in my head; I ate sugar-free jell-o like it was going out of style; and I worked out harder than I ever had. I can actually remember one of my lowest moments: my mom was preparing dinner, and I saw her adding a little extra butter to a dish. I completely freaked because it was going to “ruin all of my hard work”.
Obviously, I was in a horrible place, and even after the contest was over, my misconstrued way of thinking continued. I was miserable and depressed, but I was still getting thinner so I kept at it. I would run into people I hadn’t seen in a while, maybe since high school, and they’d say “Oh Courtney, you lost weight? You look great!”. During high school & the beginning of college, I was pretty average. Certainly not overweight, but could afford to eat a few less cosmic brownies. Well all of those comments kept me going. Even the ones about my “so skinny arms” got me excited. I thrived off of things like this.
My mom urged me, gently, to go speak to someone on more than one occasion, but I refused. I didn’t want to go telling some doctor I had a problem. I thought, sure I don’t want to eat fattening foods, but that doesn’t make me one of “those people”.
Luckily, a very close friend of mine could totally relate to what I was going through. She had battled through some very similar issues in the past, and I knew I could always count on her. We would talk a lot, about food, about feelings, about life. The best part of it all was that she did not once judge me, and that’s exactly what I needed; just somebody to listen, and somebody who understood. Had I gone to see a doctor, who knows whether or not I would have been diagnosed with anything? But I’m glad I wasn’t, because I don’t want to ever have any kind of “label” floating over my head. Yes, I had a problem, and I’ll leave it at that. Thankfully, I had my own doctor in the form of my close friend.
While I slowly started to improve, it wasn’t until Jay and I got back together in May of 2008 that things really started to look up for me. I was happy again, I felt complete, and I had more to focus on than just food and how to avoid it. This is when I started reading food blogs, such as Tina’s & Kath’s. At first, I looked at these meals and would think, “Geez, there’s no way I could eat all that without getting fat!”. But slowly, as my mental and physical health started to improve, I realized that I was really just begging to be able to enjoy food again the way that these girls were, and the way that I used to.
I’d say it still took a good solid year until I felt totally comfortable with food that wasn’t “fat free” or “low-fat”. But the more I read these blogs, and the happier I became with life, the easier it was for me to see the light. It was amazing when I realized how much more energy I had when I actually ate some healthy fats and carbs! And my moodiness? So much better! (although Jay may beg to differ on that one sometimes ) Fitness also became an enjoyable hobby for me, rather than a dreaded requirement. My workouts these days are MUCH more intense than they were then, and that’s because I have the stamina to do them. I love the way a hot, sweaty workout makes me feel. I love being sore the next day from a killer BodyPump session. And the best part, I don’t love it because it could potentially make me “loose weight”…I do love it because it makes me feel, well…flippin’ fantastic!
Looking back, it’s crazy for me to see just how low things got, because I always had felt such joy with food and exercise. Thankfully, all of that love is back, probably 100 times more than ever before. I realized that I have so much more to focus on in life than being the “skinny girl”. I have a loving husband, a phenomenal mother and father, a pretty kick-ass brother (most of the time!) and the best group of friends you will ever find, guaranteed.
To be honest, I’m pretty nervous about all of this being posted, because I’ve never opened up about this to anyone except my one close friend, Jay, and my mom. My friends didn’t know, although they may have had an idea. And my co-workers & acquaintances certainly didn’t know. Most people are probably going to read this and think, “Geez, I never realized that you were so screwed up, Courtney?” Well, I was; plain and simple. I battled some hurdles, but I overcame them; and to me, that’s more courageous than someone finding out about those battles in the first place.
Q: What is your skin care and make-up routine?
A: Skin Care
My skincare routine is probably one of the simplest you’re going to find around. As much as I am occasionally drawn to try new products, I know what works best for my skin, so I just stick to it.
I love how cool and creamy it feels on my skin, I like that I can use it on my eye makeup, and I LOVE the fact that I can buy it for only $4 a jar!
I’ve just recently started using the L.M. tinted moisturizer and I seriously LOVE it – especially for summer when my makeup routine is a little more lax. Currently, I’m using the L.M. for day, and the Olay Complete for night. In the dry winter months, I usually incorporate a heavier moisturizing cream at night. I’ve always used a moisturizer with SPF, so it’s just one less step to worry about. Plus, the feel of greasy sunscreen on my face isn’t my fave.
I use this scrub about once a week, to try to get rid of excess oils and dead skin cell. My face can be pretty sensitive, but this scrub is gentle enough for me. It’s one of the only pricier items I’ve splurged on with skincare, but I think it’s worth it.
Most estheticians are pretty much appalled when I tell them my cleanser of choice, but whatever – they’re always the ones to come back 5 minutes later and say, “Oh you have such beautiful skin!” (Hehe, shows what THEY know!)
Last month, I talked a little bit about dirty makeup, so you may have seen some of my goods then; but this is pretty much my full “base” skin routine when it comes to makeup. When I’m not feeling too lazy, I’ll use the primer, but usually I don’t worry about it unless I’m going to a fun event. My foundation & bronzer of choice for the spring/summer are both Bare Minerals (I can’t use it in the winter – it just doesn’t blend into my skin right). Some days, if I don’t feel like wearing blush, I’ll use the Maybelline #10 bronzer on cheeks for an extra little “glow”. The Maybelline eye shadow you see there actually goes on my eyebrows after using the eyebrow pencil; I just like to fill them in a little bit and even them out with color. I’ve been doing it for years.
Warmth is one of my best friends – I’ve been using only that with my tinted moisturizer for the past few weeks and it works like a charm.
When applying the warmth, I usually sweep each side of my face with the brush in a number “3″ pattern. That way, I cover the forehead, cheeks, and chin/jawline, with an even sweep, and nothing gets too overdone. Because really, there’s nothing worse than looking at a photo of yourself and having the first reaction be: “Holy Bronzer!”
When I feel like playing around with color, I consult these two pallets – one Urban Decay, one Maybelline - both of which I’ve been using forever. They both go on super smooth, and last for a really good portion of my day. I’ll also play around occasionally with eyeliners – either grey, black, or purple, which really looks awesome against super-dark brown eyes like mine.
And last but CERTAINLY not least, is mascara. Very rarely do I leave the house without it – just a touch of it is all you need to brighten eyes. My current obsession is Cover Girl Lash Blast in Very Black.